What on Earth was Sepp Kuss doing to his rear derailleur?

Just a mid-Giro derailleur battery swap, no big deal.

Caley Fretz
by Caley Fretz 08.05.2023 Photography by
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Sepp Kuss just pulled off the most impressive bit of mobile bike mechanic work we’ve seen in quite some time.

With just over 31 km remaining in Monday’s Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia, Kuss was off the back and spinning furiously, unable to change gears. He was already on his spare bike, clear because it didn’t have a number on it, but (this is speculation, as the team have not yet confirmed), the rear derailleur battery appeared to be dead or malfunctioning.

So he did what any sane person would do: he reached down and pulled his rear derailleur battery off, sending it bouncing down the road.

Kuss pulls the plug on his rear derailleur.

Then he reached down and pulled the battery off his front derailleur.

Then he reached back and put the front derailleur battery on the rear.

Attaching the battery to the rear derailleur again. No problem.
The rear derailleur now has a battery on it. But alas, the derailleur still isn’t working.

Why would he do this? Presumably because front shifting was a lot less important on the mostly-downhill run-in to the finish line than rear shifting. He could get away with leaving it in the big ring for the rest of the day, but being stuck most of the way up the cassette was going to require some pretty serious leg speed to regain contact.

SRAM batteries are the same for both the front and rear derailleur and can be snapped on and off by opening or closing a small clasp on the top of the derailleur in question. They come off relatively easily – to the point that some mechanics put a small bit of cut-up tube, rubber band, or tape around them in races like Paris-Roubaix for extra security.

Unfortunately for Kuss, his maneuver didn’t fix the problem. He eventually got help from a team mechanic and was back on his way.

Still, the skill displayed was impressive. Unweighting the front end at those speeds, then reaching down and fiddling around with the rear derailleur, takes a level of confidence not many possess. Maybe don’t try this one at home.

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